Participatory Content – aimClear’s Facebook Marketing Workshop

by Dana Lookadoo on June 24, 2011

Participatory Content?

It’s more than multi-syllable marketing jargon. Participatory content was the focus of the aimClear Facebook Marketing Workshop at SMX Advanced on June 9. We gained an in-depth understanding of its importance. To be successful on Facebook, you must focus on:

Participating with one’s community by engaging with superior content.

Marty Weintraub predicted in 2007 that Facebook would evolve into a critical business tool for B2B and B2C marketers.  Marty’s prophesy has come to fruition. Thousands of companies are developing relationships and tapping into a virtual gold mine of thoughts, desires and consumer behavior available nowhere else.

Facebook has more than 700 million people hanging out sharing their inner thoughts. They (we) log in 3-5 times a day!

Companies can get in front of this audience. Those who produce and share kickass content are generating Likes and Facebook wall posts that result in increased online visibility… and bottom-line sales.

Facebook Intensive – One Packed Workshop

aimClear Notebook

aimClear Notebook & Thumb Drive for Facebook Marketing Intensive

We spent more than 8 hours learning about the value of the Facebook ecosystem at the workshop. (Heck, the Bell Harbor Conference Center had to kick us out!). The aimClear notebook and thumb drive, which contained all presenter presentations, couldn’t hold all the Facebook marketing insights. Neither could our brains!

Holy canoli! Where do I start? (It’s been over 2 weeks since the workshop, and every day since I’ve secretly yearned to play hooky from work, other commitments, and distractions to savor the PowerPoints and 24 pages of yummy notes.)

A high-level summary is all that will fit in one blog post. To get more, attend a future aimClear Facebook workshop!

When I announced I planned to attempt a recap, a fellow workshop attendees, Kiko Correa tweeted:

@ yeah good luck condensing that goldmine into a few nuggets :)
Kiko Correa

Facebook Mentors

First, a “thank you” to the brain trust of presenters who openly bared their Facebook souls:

Facebook Marketing in a Nutshell

Marty broke it down:

There are two kinds of marketing – paid and organic.

Paid targeting is about organic targeting – demographically.

“Rankings” are about getting into the organic contextual flow without writing a platform a check.

Facebook is organic contextual and paid. It’s about getting into the flow by participation – what we call “social media.”

Did you get that?

Facebook is about getting into the flow by participation.

STOP right here. If you read nothing more, understand this:

  • It’s all about people – no spam, no gaming the system.
  • You cannot fake or automate engaging with your community.
  • You either add value or you fail. Simple.

Marty reminded us,

Do what you do with people. You’re in social space. Do social things. Be with those people.

Creative Paid Targeting

Facebook offers the opportunity to get creative and engage these social butterflies based on their likes and interests. Put on your paid marketing cap to realize the vast opportunities available to specifically target and reach your audience. How?

  • Narrowly target keywords.
  • Find those people and mine their interests.

Marty explained:

Search PPC is to SEO what Facebook ads are to community demographics and community management.

You don’t have the country of America. You have the country of English. You have human constructs by where people participate.

Facebook Targeting English Speakers

Facebook Targeting English Speakers (@aimClear slide)

So, what does this have to do with participatory content?

Engage Based Off Interests

Create ads to engage based off your audience’s likes and dislikes. Interests represent participation! Facebook ads enable you to show the most interesting ads based off what they like and don’t like.

You can segment people by Porches and Rolexes or by age and interests. Their social graph is broken down by their interests.

Create and deliver ads such as:

  • Hockey sticks to hockey players
  • Jonas Brothers tickets to Disney set

Or hold a contest like Will Scott did where they…

  • Gave away Victoria’s Secret gift cards to fans of Victoria’s Secret to raise fans for a Plastic Surgeon

Or think outside the box…

  • Take out pizza to pot smokers
  • Minivans to those who like medical services

Or use negative competitor’s sentiment and typing “sucks” in the Interests box:

  • “If You Hate [Their Brand] You’ll Love [Our Brand]”
  • “10% Discount If You Think [Brand] Sucks”

(And for any of you who know Marty Weintraub, “creativity” abounds!) The Facebook Intensive Marketing workshop taught us, in Marty’s words, how to:

Get sideways about it!

You are competing on a page that has a lot of activity on it. For your ad to stand out, be rigorous to write good headlines.

Resource: Learn more about Facebook Ads Targeting.

Participatory Content (Community Engagement)

Participatory content; however, is about more than paid targeting. It’s about organically targeting – getting to know and engaging with – your community. Below are some engagement tips and tools (12 of 1/2 dozen of the other) from the workshop’s Facebook mentors:


  1. Cherish the 80% 20% split. You have to share content you don’t own, and you have to interact. ~Lauren Litwinka
  2. Have the best content on the block to share. Empower your community manager to share. ~Marty Weintraub
  3. When building a Facebook fan base remember, “It’s not about you. It’s about them.” ~Will Scott
  4. Ask questions. It’s a great way to get interactions. ~Lisa Buyer
  5. In social media, attention span is like a lit match. ~Merry Morud (quoting Tim Ash)
  6. Don’t remove negative comments. Negative reviews make positive ones appear more genuine. ~Lauren Litwinka
  7. Be somebody that people like in normal life. Be friends. ~Marty Weintraub
  8. Get off your page, and become friends with people outside Facebook. ~Lisa Buyer
  9. Get into the minds of what your personas would say on Facebook. ~Merry Morud
  10. Welcome friends with an @ reply on your fan page, which shows up as a post on their wall. ~Lisa Buyer
  11. Sow to Reap – You have to give in order to get. ~Will Scott
  12. Facebook is considered the social web. PR & media pros wants to stay on Facebook and hang out. Have an online newsroom as a tab in your Facebook fan page. ~Lisa Buyer


  1. Search public updates by keyword – Your Open Book. ~Matt Peterson
  2. Search real-time Facebook (and Twitter) updates – Kurrently. ~Matt Peterson
  3. Use Visual Words as a research tool for social synonyms ~Merry Morud
  4. Urban dictionary is good for keyword research. ~Matt Peterson
  5. Use apps like North Social to collect names (and be consistent with Facebook terms of service). ~Will Scott
  6. Track effectiveness of engagement by using campaign variables via HootSuite’s URL Tool Builder~Will Scott

Most Memorable Facebook Marketing Takeaway

Marty broke it down on how he thinks about the competition:

You cannot have 2 asses on one chair!

Resource: Plan now to buy Marty Weintraub’s upcoming book – “Killer Facebook Ads.” Guess how they came up with the name for the book? Facebook ad targeting!

Workshop Photo Slideshow

What would memories be without photos of the workshop and the people? Remember, it’s all about people!!

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